Note: Anyone who has been raped is the owner of that experience, and can downplay or joke or mock or disparage or present it in absolutely any way that he or she wants. This post is not aimed at that person.
Want more women in any endeavor dominated by men? Stop defending rapists. Stop:
- denying that rape culture exists
- making rape jokes or humorous rape allusions
- telling women they are irrational to be afraid of stranger rape or to let that irrational rear direct their behavior
- saying that rape isn’t as bad as murder
- one-upping women’s conversations about how the rape culture affects them with statistics about prison rape
- suggesting that 1 in 6 women in the United States being raped in her lifetime is not that bad of a statistic
- writing pretend math with variables to represent the likelihood of being raped and the likelihood of being killed afterward, to show how close to 0 the outcome is
- imagining there’s an epidemic of false rape accusations that hurts men
- claiming that there is any kind of “gray area” between consent and non-consent
- blaming victims
- getting huffy about being called a “potential rapist” and equating linking to the blog post “Schrodinger’s Rapist” to Nazi behavior by calling it online feminism’s “Godwin’s Law”
Stop defending rapists.
Fun Fact: Whenever you engage in any of the aforementioned behaviors, you are defending rapists against women!
Why on earth would any woman want to align herself with a group of rapist defenders? Do you understand why perpetuating the rape culture within skepticism keeps women away? Do you have any idea the message it sends? The next part of this post will get complicated, so bear with me, but pay attention and think about what you are reading, and if you are confused ask for clarification before arguing. I might not be accurately expressing my thoughts.
Rape is not about sex. It is about power.
Rape is a way for men to demonstrate to women that yes, indeed, they are the sex class* expected to be available to men at all times. It’s what they are for. Brains are nice if you got ‘em, but really… men have sexual needs, and they need to fulfill those needs because it’s their nature, and the powers that be have arranged it so that women will be made available to them. Sure, some women may have enough political agency to avoid having their bodies coopted (in person or in images) for the purpose of gratifying men’s sexual urges, but even they aren’t safe from being reminded–via rape, by some man–that their desire for privacy is of less value than a man’s right to assert his political position over them. It’s been a tool of oppression employed for millennia by men against women that devalues women as human beings. Want to show a conquered people that they’ve really, truly been conquered? Cart off their material goods and rape their women to compromise their usefulness as breeders of the next generation. This works as an insult to men because women are infrastructure, not full participants of the population. Women as infrastructure is the idea that justifies honor killings, and it’s what drives in a lesser extent the view of some skeptics that more women would be beneficial to skepticism because it would make it easier for them to get laid.
*I’ll ask you to look up two posts for more detailed discussions on this idea by more experienced bloggers who have thought through this matter with more insight: “A bit of lighthearted fun” by Twisty and “How not to attract feminist allies” by skeptifem. I would be happy to discuss why I agree with them.
I am not equating “getting laid” with honor killings. Neither am I making it up that many men want more women at skeptical business meetings because it’s too much trouble for them to meet women in “real life” (and who chastise women who object being sexualized in professional settings because those women are not properly sympathetic to poor awkward men who have a hard time getting laid). In both points of view, women are considered infrastructure, not people. They are objects to obtain for reasons that benefit men.
When you defend rape (see again the list above), you support the existence of a sex class and perpetuate the idea that women are there to serve men. You may not realize that you are supporting the existence of a sex class or that you are defending rape, because that is an inherent aspect of the rape culture through which you move. It looks normal to you. If the idea of women as a sex class abhors you, and you feel outrage that someone should try to label you a “rape defender,” review the list of behaviors above. Are you doing those things? You probably have done some of them out of habit–lots of people have. Don’t spend a lot of time beating yourself up over past behaviors now, though. Spend the bulk of your time figuring out how you are going to change, and then immediately stop doing those behaviors. Because rape defenders are disgusting, and women who object to being relegated to the sex class are not going to hang around and enable them–even if they are skeptical women who agree with your skeptical goals.
You are at a crossroads here. You can take a lot of offense at what I am saying and write me off, or you can recoil in horror at the extent to which rape culture has permeated your thinking and continues to harm half of the world’s population, and stop defending rape. You can stop being disgusting.